Bonnie and I attended UIM's missionary candidate orientation (our formal interview process) in Nebraska this August, just a short time after the whole family spent 3 weeks in Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico. As a result, we are now "Missionary Appointees" with UIM Aviation, here in Tucson, Arizona (this is the organization with which I've been a full-time volunteer since last Summer). Next Summer, if the Lord wills, we will begin traveling to develop "ministry partners," a term for inviting the Church to send us into the world as their representatives in the Great Commission. It's a huge privilege to be used by God in his plans, both for us and for those who send us. As missionaries, we simply go where others cannot, to help establish the Church where it isn't. Aviation is the tool that helps us do that more efficiently and quickly, and enables a lot more follow-up and discipleship than possible via foot, donkey, boat, bus, or truck. When the Church, Christ's Bride, is then established and bolstered in a new area, it begins to send out missionaries whom we still support with aircraft, and the cycle continues. This is how the Church grows exponentially, bringing glory to God, until every tongue, tribe and nation hears there is a God, there is a living Mediator between man and God, and that means there is a Hope.
I was invited to fly a Robinson R-44 Raven II helicopter from Tucson to Phoenix this month. I am currently devoting my time to helping UIM Aviation determine what helicopter to begin raising funds for, and the flight was educational for me. This was the smallest helicopter I've ever flown, and the only one powered by a piston engine.
The desire of UIM Aviation is to expand ministry in Tepic, Mexico, into areas that aren't serviced by aircraft because there is no airstrip. Furthermore, many areas that do have airstrips are inaccessible by plane during the rainy season, because the rain erodes the surface of the airstrip, or makes it too soft to land. Also, daily flights are limited to mornings because the mountain wind shear makes it dangerous to approach at the slow speeds necessary to land on the short strips. Each of these issues could be addressed through the use of a helicopter. Please pray and ask the Lord to reveal his will as we endeavor to pursue a safe and effective aviation tool for the further spread of the Gospel.
Bonnie is just as busy as ever, even though all four children are now attending school. She gets a couple of kid-free hours every morning, after delivering the kids to their three different schools, to accomplish a myriad of tasks.
In addition to volunteering in our local church and with our kids' schools, Bonnie is studying nursing again, this time to reestablish her Arizona nursling license, which lapsed while we were in Washington. She is required to study, take a number of tests, and practice 90 hours of clinicals under the supervision of other medical professionals. She hopes that refreshing her knowledge and skills, and regaining her license will lead to ministry opportunities wherever the Lord has us in the future.
Anya is back at Faith Christian Academy (FCA), after a brief stint at a local charter middle school. Due to her age, the middle school decided she could not continue to attend, but FCA quickly and happily accepted her back, and she's been doing very well.
|Learning to surf in Las Playas, Nayarit|
Anya has also been seeing a counselor, with whom the Lord has blessed us through Arizona's healthcare system. We are seeing many small improvements, and are learning a great deal ourselves as we relate to Anya.
|Sam's 13th Birthday Present: Getting Blasted With Paint!|
Sam's doing well in school, and is now on the Youth praise team at our church. He's blessed to have true friends that he gets to see almost every day of the week, since a few of them attend the same school and the same church. He's growing, too, and if he fits into his feet at some point, should outgrow the smallness he's experienced most of his life.
Ciara is in the fourth grade and attending a small charter school that specializes in math and science. She enjoys grossing out even the male teachers at school by picking up interesting bugs in the playground. She recently wrote a 2-page essay on "Your Favorite Body Part," but apparently the spleen is one of those parts that gets less glory and is treated with greater modesty, so she had to pick a new subject. She's just that kind of girl.
|Ciara with the girls in a Hoichol village near Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico|
Asher is now attending half-day preschool, which seems to produce unbridled energy for use during the rest of the day. He has good behavior at school, but likes to test his limits at home. He seems to be in that part of life where he's developing new independence, but is a little scared at the prospect.